Vol. 7, No. 7
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Christians, because of their stance for purity and holiness according to God's standard and not the world's standard, are often accused of being intolerant, regressive and bigots. This is not something new or peculiar to the twenty-first century. The first century Christians who ceased walking "in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" were thought to be strange and were evil spoken of (1 Peter 4:3-4). Jesus warned, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19). The church is the Lord's people who are "called out" to himself, who are therefore to think, talk and act like the Lord Jesus and stand firmly for his standard of purity and holiness.
In our time, we are hearing a strong plea for tolerance by the American people to break down barriers that divide this pluralistic society and give rise to hatred and violence. In many ways this is a valid plea, especially when this hatred (sometimes augmented by violence) disregards God's design, such as his creation of races, intending for them to "dwell on all the face of the earth" (cf. Acts 17:26). But that is not always the idea behind the plea for tolerance, "the allowing to be or to be done without hindrance" (Webster's New American Dictionary). In some (not all) cases, the clamor for tolerance is a demand for acceptance of and agreement with social practices that are clearly delineated in the Bible as sinful, unacceptable to God and that are kingdom-excluding (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9). In such cases, tolerance is meant to be an unreserved fellowship, a joining together in agreement, and when Christians refuse to have this "fellowship," they are declared to be intolerant!
There are special interest groups in our society, working in the political arena, who are seeking by law to enforce their anti-biblical views upon everyone else under the guise of "tolerance." They are not content with "the allowing to be"--they are demanding agreement, acceptance, fellowship. One vice president candidate called for a removal of sexual preference barriers equally with the removal of racial barriers. When Christians or anyone else speaks out against the practice of abortion, homosexuality, etc., they are accused of being intolerant. Some of those special interest groups desire to prohibit such "speaking out" under penalty of law. This has fearful consequences, the like of which took the physical lives of thousands upon thousands of Christians in centuries past.
When Christians speak out against abortion, homosexuality or any other practice identified in the Bible as sin, they are not intolerant as our society tends to charge them, even though they do not resort to violence to prohibit such sinful practices; that would be intolerance. (Those who resort to violence are themselves involved in a sinful practice.) There is a great big difference in opposing the above sinful practices and resorting to violence to stop those practices. In fact, the Bible demands that Christians teach against those practices but forbids the use of forceful prevention. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). Our duty is to speak the whole counsel of God (cf. Acts 20:27), to stand for it and endure the ensuing calumny and persecution--all without compromise.
Christians must boldly but lovingly speak out the Word of God, which says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). A failure to do so would be a tolerance that will result in eternal destruction: to the one not warned but persists in the above sins, and to the "tolerant" Christian who chose not to warn of the sin (cf. Ezekiel 3:18-21).
Due to the strong pluralistic, humanistic and materialistic views held by a large portion of our present society, it is possible that Christians could be charged as intolerant people subject to the penalty of a law that forbids a speaking out against sexual preferences. Such a charge of intolerance contradicts God's eternal Word and his divine standards.